Fernando Alonso believes McLaren will be in a “much better position” in 2019 after understanding the problems with its current Formula 1 car.

Despite a switch to Renault engines this year McLaren has endured a tough season and currently sits sixth in the constructors’ championship having scored points on just two occasions since the summer break.

While fellow Renault-powered teams Red Bull and Renault have enjoyed much better fortunes, McLaren has struggled with its uncompetitive MCL33, which was dubbed as “an extremely poor race car” by CEO Zak Brown earlier this year.

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But after carrying out a series of experimental tests during recent grand prix weekends with new developments planned for 2019, Alonso, who will leave F1 at the end of the current campaign, is confident McLaren has made encouraging progress.

“I think the car is definitely going to be more competitive next year,” Alonso said ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

“From July we’ve been testing experimental parts next year. I think there’s a lot of optimism in the team with the direction the car took in the last couple of months.

“We understood our problems. We know that last year the car was very competitive on the chassis side, we know that.

“We have the GPS to compare, we have our speed in the corners - I qualified seventh here and finished eighth, or something, so definitely the car 12 months ago was very competitive in some areas.

“We lost some of that competitiveness this year, we understood why. I think next year the team will be in a much better position and I’m happy for them.”

Alonso has managed 50 of the team’s entire points tally (62) so far this season, though McLaren has fallen behind its midfield rivals in the development race as it prioritised working to understand the issues it faced with its 2018 challenger.

Asked to specify which areas McLaren lost performance in, Alonso replied: “Well, it’s a private thing in the team but definitely we took some directions in this project that were not giving the results we were expected.

“Some compromises were made in the car for a lot of hopes on performance, they were not coming so we only took the downside of those decisions. So next year should be much better and the lesson is taken.”